Running into Mackenzie Phillips is like meeting an old friend. After all, many of us have known her all our lives, since she was a child star in “American Graffiti” and was beloved by millions on the 1970s hit TV show “One Day at a Time” in which she co-starred with Valerie Bertinelli and Bonnie Franklin.
According to Biography, Phillips was one of the highest paid actresses of her time, earning nearly $50,000 an episode until drugs and alcohol ended her run.
She has a quick, loving sense of humor and a loving take on the world around her and given her public battles with addiction and dysfunction, that’s surely her saving grace.
She found her calling eventually and her star is once again ascendant.
After two nearly fatal overdoses, she began her recovery journey and fell in love with helping others in crisis. And even though her journey has been a bumpy ride, she has found herself at 58 years old in a contented place.
For several years Mack, as she is affectionately known by friends and colleagues, has worked in drug and alcohol counseling and is currently working with Addiction rehabilitation expert Brad Lamm at Breathe Life Healing Center in Los Angeles. At Breathe, which has a sizeable LGBTQ community, Phillips is a primary counselor.
“My addiction was so powerful, and so rooted in early trauma, that I lost myself for many years. Now, with a strong recovery I’m committed to helping others find their voice at Breathe Life Healing Centers,” she says.
How long have you been out and who was the hardest person to tell?
I’m not in and I’m not out. I’m just me.
Who’s your LGBT hero?
What’s Los Angeles’ best nightspot, past or present?
The Rainbow on Sunset Boulevard.
Describe your dream wedding.
Tahiti, that’s an easy one.
What non-LGBT issue are you most passionate about?
That’s a hard one, because LGBT is the rainbow and it encompasses all aspects of who we all are. There are no non-LGBT issues.
What historical outcome would you change?
The assassinations of John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King.
What’s been the most memorable pop culture moment of your lifetime?
I was a pop cultural moment! Oh, I had sex with Mick Jagger…that was a pop cultural explosion!
On what do you insist?
Love. Everything can be done with love.
What was your last Facebook post or Tweet?
I posted about being on Facebook Live with Brad Lamm. “I’ll be live on Breathe Life Healing Centers page with Brad Lamm at 11am PST!!! Join us for some lively conversation! Post questions to Breathe Facebook page!”
If your life were a book, what would the title be?
My life is a book and I’ve written several. “Hopeful Healing: Essays on managing recovery and surviving addiction,” is my most recent but the hardest for me to write was “High on Arrival” in 2009.
If science discovered a way to change sexual orientation, what would you do?
I’d like to try on a dick and walk around for about three days, just to see what the big deal is. I’d go out and just have a good time. I’m sure I’d want to be a woman again. Oh, orientation? But I already like everything. I am all orientations!
What do you believe in beyond the physical world?
Everything affects everything else. I really believe that completely.
What’s your advice for LGBT movement leaders?
Addiction is something that seems to be left behind. I think there needs to be a major focus on educating the community about recovery.
What would you walk across hot coals for?
My son. I’d walk across hot coals for my son and if he turns out to be gay I will prance across hot coals for him.
What LGBT stereotype annoys you most?
That all gay men are effeminate or that all lesbians are butch.
What’s your favorite LGBT movie?
What’s the most overrated social custom?
What trophy or prize do you most covet?
I really don’t covet anything but I do prize my recovery and my work helping others along their journey to recovery.
What do you wish you’d known at 18?
That everything would be OK.
Why Los Angeles?
Even though I have lived elsewhere, I always keep coming back. I keep coming back. Los Angeles has been home since I was 6 years old and we moved here from Alexandria, Va.